Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blackberry-Government Issue

I use a Blackberry Bold 9700 and have got addicted to the chat and email service. I do not remember the last time I used gtalk on any other instrument. So when there were rumors of possible shutdown of Blackberry Services (BBS) in India, I was a little worried, not because it would be the end of me, but because I would have to give up something which I use almost every minute. I actually thought about making my old iPhone 3G the primary phone of use. But since RIM was still negotiating with the Indian Government, I put this issue aside, but kept an eye on it.

A few other nations have also pinned RIM for similar issues, which I truly think is a chain reaction, each one trying to show they have a good Telecom Department which is on top of all things related to national security (or maybe it's true). When Saudi actually shutdown BBS, I was kind of convinced that India will follow suit. But the services were restored in a few hours, and I just laughed.

Now Reuters have reported, that on Thursday, the Indian Home Ministry will give RIM a deadline to grant the Indian authorities encryption access details, to use it in case of an emergency. But looking at what happened in Saudi, I am sure the Canadian company will work out a deal with the authorities.

Just yesterday a friend told me that he wants to get a Blackberry, but now he will not because like Saudi and Indonesia its going to be banned in India. I actually had to explain to him that the BBS is up in Saudi, and India is still in talks with RIM, and that they will not be banning the phone but just suspend the service. He then I asked me what phone to Blackberry and we had a discussion around that.

All of this made me wonder that does an average Indian know about BBS? Do they know how it is different than getting an ordinary data plan, or what encryption is,  (I am not an expert on either of these)? Or he/she is just happy with the Blackberry Messenger and other social activity tools for as low as Rs 299/month (Vodafone India) and feel like they would lose an arm if these services were to be shutdown?

I think RIM is doing a really bad job or keeping existing/potential customers in the loop. Their Facbook Page is full of upcoming products and OS 6 and similar discussions are happening on Twitter. I am sure there might be some forums where these government related issues are being discussed, but how many Indians google for these things?

Well what do I know. Let me know what you think.

Source - Reuters, Techtree.

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